Patna/New Delhi, Apr 10 (PTI) Former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi was today questioned by the CBI in Patna in a case of alleged corruption in handing over IRCTC hotels management to a private firm when her husband and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav was the railway minister, officials said here.
The CBI officials made it clear that only Rabri Devi was questioned at her residence in Patna rejecting the claims by RJD leaders that her son Tejashwi Yadav was also quizzed.
“Only Rabri Devi was questioned today. We have already questioned Tejashwi Yadav in connection with the case,” an official said here.
They said that a team of officials questioned Rabri Devi on the issues pertaining to change in ownership of Delight Marketing Company owned by Sarla Gupta, to Lara Projects owned by Rabri Devi and son Tejashwi.
It is alleged that after the tender was awarded to Sujata Hotel, the ownership of Delight Marketing Company changed hands from Sarla Gupta to Rabri Devi and Tejashwi Yadav between 2010 and 2014. By this time, Prasad had resigned as railway minister.
Meanwhile, RJD leaders attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, alleging that it was a malicious exercise and wondered if it was a coincidence that their leader had been questioned by the CBI when the prime minister was visiting the state.
“Let Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar remember that the more they will try to repress us, the stronger will we emerge,” RJD vice-president Shivanand Tiwary said.
The entire exercise smacks of malice as Prasad is in jail and is keeping poor health because of which he has been admitted to the AIIMS at New Delhi, RJD MLA Shakti Singh Yadav told reporters.
Prasad’s elder son Tej Pratap Yadav’s marriage is also on the cards, he said, adding, “It is not a mere coincidence that the development has taken place on a day when Narendra Modi is on a tour of Bihar.” Another party MLA Ejya Yadav said Tejashwi Yadav has challenged the CBI and the ED to come up with a charge sheet if they have any proof against him or his family in the case.
The case pertains to allegations that Lalu Prasad, as railway minister, handed over the maintenance of two hotels run by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a subsidiary of the Indian Railways, in Ranchi and Puri to Sujata Hotel, a company owned by Vinay and Vijay Kochhar, in return for a prime plot of three acres in Patna through a benami company, Delight Marketing Company.
An FIR lodged in this connection alleged that the RJD leader had abused his official position for extending undue favours to the Kochhars.
The CBI registered the case against Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi, son Tejashwi, and Sarla Gupta, wife of former Union minister Prem Chand Gupta.
Others named as accused in the FIR include Vijay and Vinay Kochhar, both directors of Sujata Hotels and owner of Chanakya Hotel, Delight Marketing Company, now known as Lara Projects, and then IRCTC managing director P K Goel.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.